KARACHI: The Sindh High Court directed the provincial health secretary to comply with an order to constitute a medical board for the examination of Farhat Paracha, the wife of a missing businessman, Saifullah Paracha, who was whisked away from the Bangkok airport in 2003.
A division bench comprising Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi ordered the health secretary to submit a report within two weeks, failing which he shall be in attendance at the next date.
The order was passed on an application filed by Farhat Paracha, seeking contempt proceedings against the Foreign Affairs office for not submitting a quarterly report on the progress in the repatriation of her husband from Guantanamo Bay.
Advocate Nisar A. Mujahid submitted that the petitioner was seriously ill and unable to get medical treatment due to financial constraints. The bench ordered the health secretary to constitute a medical board for her.
Earlier, she had submitted that her husband and son Uzair Paracha had disappeared after flying to Thailand from Karachi on July 5, 2003. In September 2003, Mrs Paracha received a letter via the International Committee of the Red Cross, stating that her husband was detained at Bagram prison, Afghanistan.
In September 2004, he was shifted to Guantanamo Bay after one year in detention at Bagram on allegations of laundering money for al Qaeda. Uzair was convicted by a US court of helping al Qaeda operatives to enter the US with the intention to attack Americans.
She filed a petition in the SHC, which asked the government in September 2003 to take ‘all necessary steps’ to protect the interests of Pakistani detainees. But the authorities had violated the SHC order, as neither of them took any interest in their well-being nor were their families informed of any measures taken to secure their release.
In August 2006, the SHC directed the Foreign Ministry to file quarterly reports in court. Then foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri and the foreign secretary gave an undertaking to the court that the government was working to secure the return of all Pakistani detainees. But only one quarterly progress report was filed and no progress has been so far made, which is tantamount to contempt of court.
On Monday, the petitioner’s counsel stated that the court’s previous order for the formation of a medical board to examine his client had so far not been complied with by the provincial secretary health. Standing Counsel for the Federal Government and Additional AG Shafi Muhammad Memon appeared for the Sindh government.
The hearing was adjourned to October 12.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ